New attorney magazine in the Triangle doubles as marketing vehicle

dranii@newsobserver.comDecember 13, 2013 

A new monthly magazine for and about local attorneys that unabashedly doubles as a marketing tool for its target audience is debuting next week.

The Triangle edition of Attorney At Law Magazine, a free publication, will be mailed to about 5,000 local attorneys, said publisher Bob Friedman, who is based in Morrisville. The magazine also will be available online.

Friedman is a former reporter for “The Nightly Business Report” on PBS as well as co-founder and former president and CEO of the Red Hot & Blue barbecue chain and co-owner, along with his wife, of East Coast Wings & Grill in Cary. He also is former publisher of the Triangle, Triad and Charlotte editions of Business Leader Magazine.

“We see it as a hometown legal magazine,” Friedman said.

Although it’s exceedingly tough times for print publications in general, Friedman said there’s a thriving market for local business-to-business magazines where timeliness isn’t crucial.

In addition, Attorney At Law will supplement its revenue from traditional advertising with “content marketing” – sponsored material that eschews the hard sell – paid for by attorneys who are featured in a given issue.

“It’s just another form of what I would consider to be traditional advertising cloaked in an editorial format,” said Rick French, founder and CEO of Raleigh public relations firm French/West/Vaughan.

“In general, the pay for play is going to have value, but it is less credible than the third-party endorsement you are hoping to court by working with a journalist on a story.”

French said the popularity of such publications “has been accelerating.”

The Triangle edition of Attorney At Law is published by Phoenix-based Target Market Media. Target Market publishes about 30 local Attorney At Law magazines nationwide, said Friedman, who works as an independent contractor.

Readable self-promotion

The content marketing in Attorney At Law will come in two flavors: feature stories about Triangle lawyers written by Friedman or a freelance writer and articles about the law and the practice of law written by local attorneys and others.

“It’s a form of marketing no different than a website,” Friedman said.

But, he added, “the articles have to be readable. If it’s a feature story that is I, I, I, nobody is going to want to read it.”

The idea is that attorneys can use the articles that appear in the magazine – and which they can post on their websites as well – to market their expertise to other attorneys. That’s important because attorneys who specialize in, say, real estate law often are asked by their clients to refer them to attorneys with other specialties.

Most, but not all, of the articles in the magazine will be paid for by the attorney who is featured in the story or who writes the educational article, Friedman said.

The cover story for the inaugural issue features David Kirby, the law partner in the recently formed Edwards Kirby law firm that also includes former senator and two-time presidential candidate John Edwards. Friedman and French, whose firm represents Edwards Kirby, both said Kirby didn’t pay for the story.

Friedman said that the magazine will occupy a different niche from North Carolina Lawyers, whose bread-and-butter is focusing on court opinions and changes in the law.

Ranii: 919-829-4877

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